The chapter entitled “Fighting Words” discusses Charlie Chaplin’s intentions for his film “The Great Dictator”. The film was Chaplin’s first sound film. Not wanting to alter his classic silent ‘tramp’ character, Charlie found the opportunity in this entry into sound to preserve his beloved character and talk to his audience for the first time. “As Hitler I could harangue the crowds in jargon and talk all I wanted to,” wrote Charlie in his autobiography. “A Hitler story was an opportunity for burlesque and pantomime.” Charlie exposed Hynkel (representing Hitler) in exactly this fashion. For most of the film, Hynkel’s words amount to nothing more than gibberish. When the dictator speaks intelligibly, the audience still senses malevolent babble.
The chapter supports the thesis as it illustrates Chaplin’s intentions to mock Hitler his film. It also demonstrates the striking contrast between the dictator and the barber. The dictator appears foolish as a result of Chaplin’s work while the barber remains relatively silent and pure (until the end). After developing these distinct characters for two hours, Charlie utilizes his first sound film to let out his own voice in the final speech, bashing hate and calling the soldiers to unite in the name of democracy and peace.
This chapter directly supports the thesis as it demonstrates how Chaplin effectively uses humor to criticize the Nazi regime. The reshaped statues are an exceptional example of Chaplin’s skill in demonstrating the pollution of the Third Reich on all aspects of German life. Chaplin masterfully deforms the Nazi swastika into a double cross. This use of a switched object indicates Hitler’s betrayal of Germany.